KANSAS CITY — As Daniel Lynch walked off the mound in the fifth inning Monday night, he looked around at a stadium halfway full of fans on their feet, giving the left-hander a standing ovation for his first day in the big leagues.
Lynch’s Major League debut wasn’t perfect in the Royals’ eventual 8-6 loss to the Indians at Kauffman Stadium, and there are certainly things he’ll work on between now and his next start. But there were flashes of why the Royals’ top pitching prospect is so highly regarded in the organization — and why the future of the rotation could be successful for years to come.
Lynch was tagged for three runs in 4 2/3 innings, with four hits, four walks and three strikeouts. He wasn’t as sharp as he’s shown he can be, which is understandable for a 24-year-old who found out he’d be making his Major League debut a day before he took the mound. But the way he worked around trouble showed his poise, and he flashed the arsenal that has helped him become the Royals’ No. 2 prospect — and baseball’s No. 24 prospect — according to MLB Pipeline.
Lynch’s first Major League strikeout came on a filthy slider to left-handed hitter Josh Naylor, who had to reach out across the plate and bend halfway over to try and make contact. It did not go well for Naylor, and Royals catcher Salvador Perez made sure to get the ball to the dugout for safekeeping.